Author Avatar: The main character, Ethan, has an outstanding physical resemblance to Buckley, and Buckley admitted he based the character on himself just how most of the cast are based on real life friends of his.
Axe Crazy: The Four Players, but mostly Two and Four.
Becoming the Mask: Meta example, but the current Something Awful mock thread has moved on to drawing fan art (ban art) of Buckley's characters, often in an attempt to fix the flaws in his writing/art/characterisation. This has led to the horrible realisation:
We are the CAD fans!
Big Damn Heroes: Rory saves Ethan with a fire extinguisher attacking the Hawaiian Mafia.
Bittersweet Ending: The ending of the the main storyline. Ethan gives his life in a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the annihilation of two universes, never making it back home, never getting to say "I love you" to Lilah one last time. Everyone mourns his death, but eventually moves on. Zeke reveals himself, saying that he's just "trying to find his place in the world." Lucas learns to love again, marrying Kate and having a son which he names after Ethan. His legacy is remembered in the form of "The Ethan MacManus Church of Gaming". We're left with an image of Lilah looking up at said church with a proud but sorrowful smile.
Broken Aesop: The comic makes it clear it's wrong to be a "console fanboy," in one strip even having God personally squash one. Fine. We'll buy that; a bit Anvilicious, but an adequate Aesop of its own. However, there are issues with this, since the fanboys are always gamecube fans, the evil Gamer King in an early strip used a staff with a golden Gamecube controller on top (versus Ethan's Xbox one), Ethan playing a Gamecube is referred to as a "sin against the gaming gods," he mentions that turning the Gamecube into a robot would result into a girl robot, and doing the same to a Playstation would produce a gay one while the Xbox appears to be perfect and sinless.
Character Development/Character Derailment: Ethan suddenly acquires competence when he uses his cellphone as a wire. It's been theorized that this has something to do with Ethan and Lilah moving from boyfriend-girlfriend to married couple, where Ethan's behavior wouldn't really work. Or he did it as part of his daily seven seconds of focus.
Cheaters Never Prosper: Ethan trying out an RPG-themed rewards system (one of his rare, not-actually-that-bad ideas) at his game shop when he encounters a Gamer Chick who's trying to manipulate the system by buying ten games at once to get an eleventh one at a discount and then returning the first ten games. Ethan seems to get the upper hand after he sorts out the rules, but then she moves on rigging the tabletop games by, um, paying the entrance fees for a band of hobos for a prize that's only a percentage of the money she paid.
Choose Your Own Adventure: Once or twice a year, the author will come out with a storyline where he decides what the character's actions will be or what plot branch to take in the next update based on the number of emailed votes he receives.
Comedic Sociopathy: Ethan displayed it a lot in the past, which is biting the comic in the arse now Cerebus Syndrome has kicked in and he's meant to be a little more sympathetic and at least trying to mature. The Four Players, especially Two and Four.
Comic Role Play: In one strip, Ethan freaks Lucas out by wearing fake breasts when playing his girlfriend.
Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Ethan reacts to being saved from the mafia by Rory by being outright furious. Somewhat justified since Rory caused the mafia to show up in the first place, but that he reacts this way just a couple of seconds after Rory had saved him from bodily harm, and maybe even death, by knocking out the mobsters, makes Ethan seem angry about being saved.
Continuity Creep: Starts out as your standard issue gamer comic, eventually descends into lengthy storylines.
Cut and Paste Comic: To a fairly infamous degree, especially during a con demonstration of how he works his comics, it's shown that he keeps a file full of different eyes and mouths to copy and paste from, along with differently shaded body parts. Eventually Buckley has moved away from it, with much more dynamic angles and poses.
Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lucas, concentration camp Lucas Barry (Ethan's old boss), Scott, Lucas' murderous girlfriend, Christian's agent Shannon, and Abby the Gamer Chick who's gaming Ethan (does the author have some kind of thing against brunette women?).
Gamer Chick: Lilah, played completely straight and one of the earliest examples of it.
Genius Ditz: Despite being a total idiot, Ethan has constructed a fully sapient (albeit rather misanthropic) robot (out of an Xbox no less), a set of super-strong robot hands, and a hermetically sealed chamber with a chair capable of sensing biorhythms to discourage sleep or inattentiveness. He states that for seven seconds a day, his mind can focus granting him virtually unlimited insight into how the world works, allowing him to build his technological wonders and dispense incredibly good insight into other people's relationships. He then puts pineapple rings over his eyes, saying "heh...Pineapple Goggles."
Heroic Sacrifice: Ethan deactivates the time machine to save both timelines, knowing he will be killed when the vortex closes.
Idiot Houdini: Ethan's devolution to this is in large part why the comic has such a hatedom. In early strips, other characters put up with his stupidity only to the extent necessary to keep him as a character in the webcomic. By the time Winter-een-mas rolls around, the universe is bending over backward to turn all of his stupid ideas into outrageous successes. At the comic's end, he did end up getting some comeuppance by getting killed off trying to fix the consequences of his actions. The author admitted the decision behind this was that he was overdue to get some backlash after having things go his way for so long.
Karmic Twist Ending: Ethan's years of escaping consequences for his actions end when a time machine he created is used to show him a Bad Future resulting from his creation of Zeke. When the same time machine overloads, Ethan is forced to commit a Heroic Sacrifice.
Also seen in a few of the deaths from the Space Archaeologist Choose Your Own Adventure arcs.
Kick the Dog: Christian. His whole post-miscarriage store plot was to set up Ethan so he could get Lilah back. Putting so much effort to frame a moron so you can get back a girl who left you is both petty and evil, especially when all the money he spent on that asinine plot could have gone into getting whores or dating sites.
Life Embellished: Tim Buckley describes Ethan as a "stylized version" of himself (his avatar looks more or less like Ethan with shorter hair), and Lucas likewise of his best friend. Ethan has gradually evolved away from this (or so we hope considering how stupid he is). It's visually apparent in this comic.
Limited Wardrobe: Nobody in this strip changes their clothes except for plot reasons.
Long Bus Trip: Scott the Linux guy and owner of the penguin, who became Ensemble Dark Horses. Buckley insists they were meant to be one-off characters. Bringing him up on the forums is grounds for instant banning. Strangely they're both featured in the opening of the animated series and occasionally have walk-on roles.
Long Runner: It's been running since 2002 and shows no signs of slowing down.
Moral Dissonance: Lucas tells Kate they can see other people, then is hurt and offended when she actually does. Then has the balls to make her apologize to him when it was his idea to move to casual in the first place.
My Own Private "I Do": Ethan and Lilah of the Elope First, Plan Later variety. Zeke eventually finds out and uses it as blackmail fodder.
Secret Test of Character: Kate does this to Lucas by showing up for their date in a fat suit; she wants a guy who doesn't care about appearances, and it appears that he passes subverted in that his thoughts show he clearly doesn't, which leads to a Broken Aesop.
Featured a character strikingly similar in appearance to Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club speaking for the character Ethan with the line "he fell down some stairs" to explain to a doctor the reasoning behind some suspicious facial trauma.
Similarly, there's a strip where Ethan imagines himself in a "happy place"—a frozen cave with Ted's hated pet penguin, and a giant mallet. The penguin's even panicking and thinking, "...slide?"
Way Past the Expiration Date: Ethan consumes breakfast cereal that expired in May 1985. Lucas hypothesizes that consuming mold-culture cereal has made Ethan more delusional and sociopathic than usual.
We Wait: Lilah and Lucas' plan for dealing with Ethan's big brother-induced alcoholism. It works. Ethan seeing Lilah with her wedding dress was enough to convince him to get cleaned up, at least for the day.
Web Comic Time: One day in the comic equals at least four months in real life. Buckley says he draws the plot out so people doing Archive Binges can spend more time with the story. The oddest manifestation of this is Ethan saving the day with a cellphone that didn't exist commercially before the arc started.